The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has said that the Super Eagles will host Cote d’Ivoire between July 6 and July 7 in the first-leg qualifying encounter of the Championship for African Nations (CHAN).
The biennial competition, which is heading for its third edition, is a continental showpiece exclusively for players based on the African continent.
NFF’s Assistant Director on Media, Ademola Olajire, in a statement made available on Tuesday, said that the new date was rescheduled by CAF.
The statement said that CAF which had earlier proposed June 21 and June 23, rescheduled the match to allow Nigeria participate at the FIFA Confederation Cup slated for June 15 to June 30 in Brazil.
"Nigeria’s Super Eagles will host the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire between July 6 and July 7 in the first of a two-leg qualifying fixture for next year’s African Nations Championship.“CAF also stated that the return leg, billed for the Ivorian capital, Abidjan, will come up between July 27 and July 28.
The first leg of this qualifying fixture was earlier billed for June 21 and June 23 with the return leg in Abidjan to take place between July 6 and July 7.
However, Nigeria’s triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) this year made the Eagles eligible for the FIFA Confederations Cup, holding from June 15 to June 30," it explained.
The first two editions were held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009 and Sudan in 2011, respectively, while the third will be hosted by South Africa in 2014.
It added that the competition had to give way in 2013 after CAF moved the AFCON from even to odd years.
The statement added that next year’s showpiece will have 16 teams taking part for the first time, doubling the number that took part in the first two championships.
The Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisia emerged champions of the first two editions, respectively, while Nigeria has never qualified for the competition.